cluster map

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

January resources and Info

Geography Resources & Strategies to get us through the deep Freeze (January 2014)

Changes , Happenings & Appointments

·         Congratulations to Paul Hackl OAGEE rep for Toronto as he takes on a new position as Site Supervisor at The TDSB –Toronto Urban Studies Center -

·        The School in the City and the City in the School Conference

Thanks to Josh Fullan and the team at UTS for creating this. It is a great opportunity for students to think and do as geographers and Planners.

University of Toronto Schools has organized a Conference entitled: The School in the City and the City in the School for March 6th 2014, to be held at the school.

The Conference is targeted to Secondary School students and teachers and University students, including teacher candidates, as well as faculty.  The cost is $50.00 for faculty and $10.00 for all students - secondary or university, which includes lunch.

The keynote speaker will be Sheldon Levy, President of Ryerson University. There will be two panels in the morning and all participants will take part in an urban design challenge in the afternoon.

10:00 -11:00 Panel 1: The school as a community/city builder

Question: How can schools build cities? How do they create physical spaces and programs that are essential for thriving cities?

* Schools - universities, secondary schools. Elementary schools - as city builders

* Schools as community hubs

* Schools as shared spaces

* Schools as good neighbours

* Schools as “capital”


Craig Morrison, Educator, OASIS Skateboard Factory, TDSB

Andre Sorensen, Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Human Geography, University of Toronto Scarborough

Richard Sommer , Dean, Daniels Faculty of Architecture and Landscape Design, University of Toronto

11:10-12:10 AM Panel 2: The city as a classroom/ curriculum

What can cities teach us?

* What community resources and partnerships can inform curriculum?

* How can cities become living laboratories for experiential living?

* Role of the city in the ongoing evolution of ‘civilization’?


  • Zahra Ebrahim, Principal and Founder, archiTEXT
  • Catherine Vlasov, Student, University of Toronto Schools
  • Shawn Micallef, Editor and Co-owner of Spacing, Author and Columnist

To register:

Maps & Mapping

Historical Maps & Where to Find Them

The use of extracting data from old paper maps is growing in popularity as a method to understanding historical geography.  David Ramsey popularized the method of georectifying historical maps and draping those maps over a DEM to create a 3D view.    Pastmapper is a project that digitizes historical maps in order to recreate the state of cities over the course of one year intervals.  Historical GIS is also used to compare changes in a geographic area over time by comparing data extracted from maps covering a range of years.  With free applications like Harvard’s WorldMap Warp, uploading and georeferencing maps is easier than everWhere to Look for Historical Maps

Comparing Indian states and territories with countries

An Indian summary

Which countries match the GDP and population of India's states and territories?

How big is Uttar Pradesh, India's most populous state? One way of answering the question is to take its total area: 95,000 square miles (246,000 sq km). Another way is to think of it as a country. If Uttar Pradesh were to declare independence, it would be the world's fifth most populous country (as the map below shows, it has about the same number of residents as Brazil). Yet its economy would only be the size of Qatar, a tiny oil-rich state of fewer than 2m people. That makes it poor on a per person basis. Despite India's two decades of rapid growth, Uttar Pradesh's GDP per head is close to that of Kenya. The map below presents country equivalents for India's states and territories in terms of GDP, GDP per person (in PPP terms) and population. Please play around with it and tell us what you think.

Economist has similar maps for the US, Brazil and China

Great for creating comparisons and complexity of Countries - ML

Spilhaus Maps

Athelstan Spilhaus published some remarkable interrupted world maps based on shorelines in his Atlas of the World.

I’ve recreated some of the most straightforward here


A map of Pangea with current international borders

Source Unknown


Worldwide HIV Prevalence

Ramon Martinez visualizes data from the World Bank showing percentage of the population aged 15-49 infected with HIV.

Making an Interactive Map

More instructions with Video on making an ESRI- story map.   When I discuss environmental geography in my Introduction to Geography course, I begin with a discussion of the history though on nature, civilization and culture.  I’ve shown pictures of the nature hikes and canoeing trips to tease out ideas about how my students think about wilderness and civilization and their role in both.  Rather than simply show pictures as I did in years past, I decided to create a StoryMap Web application and let the map and the images work together in an interactive format.  Why? Mainly because mapping tools are changing how we can tell stories and share information.

Another great resource by Seth Dixon- ML

Exploring the Gaza Strip's Varied Geography

Despite its tiny size, this geopolitical hot spot has an unusually diverse landscape, with cities and refugee camps bumping up against farms and former settlements.

A story map

- See more at:

If all the Ice melted: National Geographic’s Interactive map on Rising Seas

What if all the ice melted? Now whether or not global warming happens courtesy carbon addition activities by us  or naturally is an entirely another debate. The question is “How would the world look if ALL the ice melted?” How much would the sea rise by? What would be the average temperature on Earth?

Teen Uses Social Media to track Bullying

WTOP reports 13-year-old Viraj Puri from Fairfax, Va., came up with the idea to illustrate bullying through maps. With the help of a data scientist and web-based technology, Puri developed Bullyvention, a web-based technology that creates maps to show where bullying most frequently occurs. - See more at:

This Warped Map Shows Global Warming's Biggest Offenders

Here's an item to help governments point fingers at the next climate-change conference: a map of the world's countries, scaled to highlight those disproportionately responsible for generating greenhouse gases.

Meat atlas shows Latin America has become a soybean empire

Global food production trends are outlined in a new report. We've picked out the best facts and infographics for you here

Visuals & Portfolios

Compilation of the world’s coolest volcanic eruptions.



The Economist January 2014

Around-The-World Trip Captured In 6,000-Photo Time-Lapse (VIDEO)

In the course of traveling for almost an entire year -- hitting 17 countries along the way -- photographer Kien Lam took enough shots to create this compelling time-lapse world-tour, set to a score composed by his younger brother William. Good minds On- ML

The Best American Infographics 2013

The newest volume—fresh and visually arresting—in the acclaimed Best American series, showcasing the finest examples of data visualization from the past year.

China starts televising the sunrise on giant TV screens because Beijing is so clouded in smog

The smog has become so thick in Beijing that the city's natural light-starved masses have begun flocking to huge digital commercial television screens across the city to observe virtual sunrises.

The futuristic screens installed in the Chinese capital usually advertize tourist destinations, but as the season's first wave of extremely dangerous smog hit - residents donned air masks and left their homes to watch the only place where the sun would hail over the horizon that morning.

Would not believe it unless I saw it-ML


A picture is still worth 1000 words- Chris Hatfield’s  example of Meanders

The mystery is “where”

Talks and Video’s

Geography Soup!

Geography Soup is a bespoke collection of short films curated for Geography teachers to use in the classroom. Everyone is chosen for its ability to take us slightly off the beaten track & to inspire us to learn & understand a little bit more about our planet & how we interact with it. Each film is a starting point to a lesson, a topic, a line of enquiry & a learning journey._ Great Stuff-ML

A Year of Weather 2013

The visualisation, comprised of imagery from the geostationary satellites of EUMETSAT, NOAA and the JMA, shows an entire year of weather across the globe during 2013, with commentary from Mark Higgins, Training Officer at EUMETSAT.

The satellite data layer is superimposed over NASA's 'Blue Marble Next Generation' ground maps, which change with the seasons.


Song to help learn how fold mountains are formed, processes involved, types of fold and world mountain ranges.

Interactive Hunger Map for 2012

The map shows the prevalence of undernourishment in the total population as of 2010 - 2012. The indicator is an estimate of the percentage of the population having access to an amount of energy from food insufficient to maintain a healthy life. Further information is available at

Source: FAO, IFAD and WFP. 2012. The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2012: Economic growth is necessary but not sufficient to accelerate reduction of hunger and malnutrition. Rome.

Interesting Articles 

Exploiting Old World Forests with New World Forestry: The Canadian Forestry Corps in the First World War

Great Historical Geography- some interesting photos and great Geographical perspective

Experience: I survived an earthquake while scuba diving

Fascinating article in the Guardian on the power of an earthquake from a very unique perspective.

Good for Tourism , Physical, Grade 7&8  -ML

Disaster cities: after tragedy strikes, what next?

The Guardian's new Cities: back from the brink site analyses the motivations and reality of rebuilding homes and communities after they have been torn apart

Champions of corruption race

Athletes are not the only people who compete in Sochi. Officials and businessmen also took part in the Games and turned them into a source of income. The Anti-Corruption Foundation honored the most distinguished money siphoners in five different sports.

Interesting Take on a Spatial Journal of the Sochi Olympics –Thanks to Matt Galloway of Metro morning for pointing this out -ML

Here is an accompanying article

Russians Debate Sticker Price of Sochi Games

Are these the world's most hated cities?

Interesting take on world Cities- interesting for Classroom debate- Where might Toronto fit?- ML

The World's 85 Richest People Are as Wealthy as the Poorest 3 Billion

The report that everybody's talking about this morning is Oxfam's opus on global inequality, which leads with an eye-popping statistic: The richest 85 people in the world own more wealth than the bottom half of the entire global population.

Another Take on the same story , I like this one because of the source-Good for Literacy DI- ML

When one percent owns half the world


By almost any measure, the world is better than it has ever been. People are living longer, healthier lives. Many nations that were aid recipients are now self-sufficient. You might think that such striking progress would be widely celebrated, but in fact, Melinda and I are struck by how many people think the world is getting worse. The belief that the world can’t solve extreme poverty and disease isn’t just mistaken. It is harmful. That’s why in this year’s letter we take apart some of the myths that slow down the work. The next time you hear these myths, we hope you will do the same.

- Bill Gates- Gates foundation Annual letter – Interesting Infographics – ML

The World in a Room      Here is a way to get students to understand world population statistics, and a bit of geography to boot.  You may use other topics too.  If you're looking for information about specific nations and global issues, try The CIA World Factbook or World Audit.

How we misunderstand the Canadian North

This is part of The North, a Globe investigation of unprecedented change, to the climate, culture and politics of Canada’s last frontier. Join the conversation with #GlobeNorth

The Globe’s ‘Artic Circle’ panel of experts and leaders is discussing five key questions about Northern issues. Their responses and conversations will appear throughout the week on Globe Debate.

Websites We Use – Geography

Focus is on Primary & junior but stuff for all-ML

Slop-Bucket Reality for Aboriginals Missing Canada Boom

Canada’s 1.4 million aboriginals, one of the youngest and fastest-growing segments of the population. While the government promotes resource projects -- C$650 billion ($585 billion) of work over the next decade -- as a path to aboriginal prosperity, they’re little help to isolated communities like Bouchie’s.

as contrasted with

Little-known federal office to oversee natural resource projects secretive, heavy-handed: NDP

A little-known federal office of barely two dozen people is charged with overseeing $230 billion worth of proposed natural resource projects across Canada and helping get aboriginal groups onside, but it’s facing criticism of being too heavy-handed and secretive.


Doing Geography

Eye on the Tiger: Satellite Images a New Tool for Conservation

Conservationists get a bird's-eye view of what's happening on the ground.

“If a picture is worth a thousand words, satellite images may tell a crucial story for conservationists and anyone else looking to protect tigers or other endangered species.”

Ice shelves, icebergs and sea ice

Understanding Continental Glaciology with examples from the Antarctic

Good diagrams, photo Galleries and explanations –ML

Seth Dixon Thoughts on why Martin Luther King was a Critical Geographer

Dr. Martin Luther King fought racial segregation (which, if you think about it, is a geographic system of oppression that uses space and place to control populations).  Dr. King has been described as a critical geographer for some of his insights.  In 1967, MLK stated, "The expansion of suburbia and migration from the South has worsened big-city segregation.  The suburbs are a white noose around the black necks of cities… suburbs expand with little regard for what happens to the rest of America.”  If you are a Maps 101 subscriber, please read the rest of this article that I co-authored with Julie Dixon.  You can also sign up for a free trial subscription or listen to the article as a free podcast on Stitcher Radio.


Teacher & Pedagogical resources

"We can transform education, both in quality and access, through technology." #DailyTED

2013 was a year of hype for MOOCs (massive open online courses). Great big numbers and great big hopes were followed by some disappointing first results. But the head of edX, Anant Agarwal, makes the case that MOOCs still matter -- as a way to share high-level learning widely and supplement (but perhaps not replace) traditional classrooms. Agarwal shares his vision of blended learning, where teachers create the ideal learning experience for 21st century students.

Through blended courses Anant Agarwal is pairing online education with face-to-face student-faculty interactions, reshaping the university campus experience.

Free Online World Regional Geography Course from Saylor

World Regional Geography was designed by Ken Yanow, Professor of Geographical Sciences, Southwestern College. I know Yanow from his work at the GeoTech Center and on the Esri Education Advisory Board. Saylor hires professors to write the courses; there are about 300 courses currently available._ non vetted but impressive authors-  ML

A New tool for Assessment – What about an Audio One ?

Personalized essay feedback using @audioboo Much quicker too! Pupils noted feedback in books

What is the Difference Between GIS and Geospatial?

The terms GIS (which most commonly is an acronym for Geographic Information Systems) and geospatial are often used interchangeably.  There are differences in what the terms GIS and geospatial mean.


Geospatial Educators Opportunities for Partnership Outreach Research and Training (Geoporter) is a program where professional geospatial educators will travel to communities around the world for extended periods to work hand-in-hand with community members to use and apply geospatial technologies to solve local issues and investigate community resources.

Fixing Geography Education in Canada: The First Step

Earlier this year, a CBC report brought to light a disturbing trend among Canada’s student population. Fundamental geographic knowledge (as simple as the locations of continents) is not as instilled in many of today’s college-level students as we may have expected. This sobering news serves to underline the need for a more solid geography education among young Canadians.



Mark Lowry

Geography and Spatial Technologies Instructional Leader

Social World Studies and Humanities

Toronto District School Board

1 Civic Center Court, Toronto , M9C 2B3

Tel (416) 394-7269   Cell (416) 394 - 6420


twitter @geogmark